Certain types of foods tend to aggravate certain
arrhythmias, both bradycardias and tachycardias. As
with many other cardiac conditions, arrhythmias are easier to manage if you eat
a balanced diet. Two dietary changes you should make after being diagnosed with
an arrhythmia are described below:
- You should avoid specific substances that can
trigger an episode of the irregular heart rhythm.
- To keep your
heart healthy and avoid a general worsening of your condition, you should eat a
balanced diet of low-sodium and low-fat foods.
Avoiding foods known to aggravate arrhythmias
certain foods may provoke your arrhythmia. Be aware of which
substances have an effect on your arrhythmia and how to avoid them. In general,
small amounts of any food will not trigger an arrhythmia. But in larger
quantities, some foods can aggravate your heart and cause your arrhythmia to
occur or get worse. Be aware of the foods listed below, as they may trigger
your arrhythmia. In general, it is a good idea to talk with your doctor about
your diet. You may want to specifically bring up the items in the table
Foods to avoid if you have an arrhythmia
Food or substance
How it aggravates your arrhythmia
||Alcohol can trigger arrhythmias in some
|Caffeine is a stimulant, which speeds up your
heart rate. Caffeine can trigger arrhythmias in some people. |
Alcohol can cause arrhythmias in people
with normal hearts and can cause heart conditions that result in arrhythmias.
People who drink heavily can develop a weak heart (alcoholic cardiomyopathy).
When this occurs, they can have various arrhythmias including atrial
fibrillation, atrial flutter, and ventricular tachycardia. The heart may return
to normal if the person stops drinking, and the risk of recurrent arrhythmias
will decrease. Even in individuals who have a normal heart, alcohol can cause
arrhythmias. Alcohol can directly injure heart cells and cause extra heartbeats
and supraventricular tachycardias. Atrial fibrillation may occur after a
drinking binge. People with heart disease or prior arrhythmias need to avoid
excessive alcohol use, and most would benefit from complete avoidance of
The most common example of a food that
triggers arrhythmias is caffeine. Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, colas,
various other soft drinks, and chocolate. People with almost any kind of rapid
arrhythmia and palpitations from any cause tend to have more frequent
arrhythmias and palpitations after ingesting caffeine. So individuals with fast
arrhythmias should avoid caffeine-containing foods. Caffeine can make symptoms
such as palpitations stronger and more noticeable. Since caffeine is a
stimulant, it speeds up your heart rate, making your heart beat even faster and
making symptoms like chest pain or lightheadedness worse. In some cases, large
amounts of caffeine can even trigger a new episode of an arrhythmia by
irritating your heart's conduction system.
Fad diets: Use extra caution!